The Unsexy Side of Planning Your Wedding
The time to talk about money with your honey is now
-Laura Weber Rossman
It’s wedding season. I just returned from a wonderful wedding in Florida, a simple ceremony surrounded by friends and family on the beach – so fitting for the times.
The reception found many of us “in the middle” sharing worries about work, aging parents, when to take social security, wondering if retirement will ever be, and sharing tips on cutting expenses.
So what would we do if we were just getting started again?
Here, a few words of advice for the soon-to-be-married, from those of us on the frontlines…
1. Keep the wedding simple and the costs down. Unless you’ve got a bucket of gold somewhere, give your parents and/or your own pocketbook a break. Maybe this is the time Grandma or Grandpa can help out. Celebrate, select a few things that have great meaning and enjoy the day. But don’t pile bills onto your family or yourself. Remember, too, if you’re deciding whether to have a destination wedding, the turn-out will be smaller as more people experience pinched budgets.
2. Have the money talk. So many of us walk into a committed relationship without really understanding what the other is bringing in debt, savings and attitude. Save yourself a surprise down the road by talking about money and how you will handle it together.
3. What’s yours, what’s mine, what’s ours? These days, it’s not unusual to come into a marriage with a pile of debt from education. Have a plan for how and who will be paying down that debt. How will it impact your plans to buy a home, start a family, blend families from a previous marriage, or even to begin retirement savings?
4. What about Mom and Dad? How about brothers and sisters? If it’s a second marriage, do you have commitments to previous in-laws? Do you share expectations about caring for and helping out family members? Odds are pretty good that one of you will be asked to step up to help with time and or money. It won’t be easy but better to know where you are each coming from now than face a heated discussion in a moment of crisis.
5. Save now. Really. We all need to recognize that we will have more personal responsibility for our financial future and retirement. The reports on the state of Medicare and Social Security that were just released make that clear. So don’t put off saving. Make it a habit together from the first day.
So what would you do if you were starting out anew? Any tips to share on how you plan to make (or made) your wedding special without breaking the budget?
Laura Rossman writes about the money issues as we manage up, down and across generations at www.moneyinthemiddle.com
Read more about family budgeting: Real-Life-Tested Ways to get Out of Debt